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UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — A British court ruled Thursday that the bulk of a terrorism trial can be held in secret on national security grounds, but rejected prosecutors’ attempt to impose secrecy on the entire case, from the selection of the jury to the identity of the defendants.

Media organizations had argued that would be a first in British legal history, and a dangerous precedent.

The case concerns two men who were arrested last year and charged with terrorism offenses. Prosecutors argued they would have to abandon the case if the trial could not be held in private and without naming the defendants.

Last month a judge agreed to the restrictions, but the ruling was challenged by the BBC and other media organizations. Their lawyer, Anthony Hudson, called the secrecy bid a “totally unprecedented departure from the principle of open justice.”

On Thursday three appeals judges ruled that the case was “exceptional,” and that the core of the trial should be heard without the public present. They said they were convinced that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

But, in a victory for the media, they said some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in, the reading of the charges, part of the prosecution’s opening statement and the verdicts.

A small number of journalists will be allowed to attend most of the proceedings, but not to report on them as they unfold. They will be subject to strict restrictions, including leaving their notebooks behind at the end of each day, and will not be able to report on the trial until a new court order is given.

The judges expressed “grave concern” about combining closed hearings with anonymous defendants, and ordered that the names of the suspects be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar. Incedal is charged with preparing an act of terrorism and possessing bomb-making instructions and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar with possessing the instructions and false identity documents. Details of their alleged crimes have not been made public.

British judges often impose reporting restrictions while trials are underway, usually to avoid prejudicing future proceedings, and portions of trials have previously been held without press or public present. But lawyers said an entire secret criminal trial was unprecedented.

Lord Justice Peter Gross, one of the appeal judges, said that open justice was “a fundamental principle of the common law,” but restrictions were justified in some circumstances.

“Exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts,” he said.

Other democracies, including the United States, have grappled with balancing security and open trials in cases connected to terrorism or intelligence.

Several suspects in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are being tried before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba after being declared “enemy combatants.”

A special U.S. federal court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, hears applications for surveillance warrants. Its secrecy-shrouded work has been the subject of intense interest since the scale of those requests was disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it accepted the British court’s decision.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for human-rights group Liberty, said she was glad that “faced with a blacked-out trial we now have a few vital chinks of light.”

“But (the judges’) wholesale deference to vague and secret ministerial `national security’ claims is worrying,” she said. “Shutting the door on the core of a criminal trial is a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.”

The trial is due to start next week.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — A British court ruled Thursday that the bulk of a terrorism trial can be held in secret on national security grounds, but rejected prosecutors’ attempt to impose secrecy on the entire case, from the selection of the jury to the identity of the defendants.

Media organizations had argued that would be a first in British legal history, and a dangerous precedent.

The case concerns two men who were arrested last year and charged with terrorism offenses. Prosecutors argued they would have to abandon the case if the trial could not be held in private and without naming the defendants.

Last month a judge agreed to the restrictions, but the ruling was challenged by the BBC and other media organizations. Their lawyer, Anthony Hudson, called the secrecy bid a “totally unprecedented departure from the principle of open justice.”

On Thursday three appeals judges ruled that the case was “exceptional,” and that the core of the trial should be heard without the public present. They said they were convinced that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

But, in a victory for the media, they said some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in, the reading of the charges, part of the prosecution’s opening statement and the verdicts.

A small number of journalists will be allowed to attend most of the proceedings, but not to report on them as they unfold. They will be subject to strict restrictions, including leaving their notebooks behind at the end of each day, and will not be able to report on the trial until a new court order is given.

The judges expressed “grave concern” about combining closed hearings with anonymous defendants, and ordered that the names of the suspects be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar. Incedal is charged with preparing an act of terrorism and possessing bomb-making instructions and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar with possessing the instructions and false identity documents. Details of their alleged crimes have not been made public.

British judges often impose reporting restrictions while trials are underway, usually to avoid prejudicing future proceedings, and portions of trials have previously been held without press or public present. But lawyers said an entire secret criminal trial was unprecedented.

Lord Justice Peter Gross, one of the appeal judges, said that open justice was “a fundamental principle of the common law,” but restrictions were justified in some circumstances.

“Exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts,” he said.

Other democracies, including the United States, have grappled with balancing security and open trials in cases connected to terrorism or intelligence.

Several suspects in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are being tried before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba after being declared “enemy combatants.”

A special U.S. federal court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, hears applications for surveillance warrants. Its secrecy-shrouded work has been the subject of intense interest since the scale of those requests was disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it accepted the British court’s decision.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for human-rights group Liberty, said she was glad that “faced with a blacked-out trial we now have a few vital chinks of light.”

“But (the judges’) wholesale deference to vague and secret ministerial `national security’ claims is worrying,” she said. “Shutting the door on the core of a criminal trial is a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.”

The trial is due to start next week.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — A British court ruled Thursday that the bulk of a terrorism trial can be held in secret on national security grounds, but rejected prosecutors’ attempt to impose secrecy on the entire case, from the selection of the jury to the identity of the defendants.

Media organizations had argued that would be a first in British legal history, and a dangerous precedent.

The case concerns two men who were arrested last year and charged with terrorism offenses. Prosecutors argued they would have to abandon the case if the trial could not be held in private and without naming the defendants.

Last month a judge agreed to the restrictions, but the ruling was challenged by the BBC and other media organizations. Their lawyer, Anthony Hudson, called the secrecy bid a “totally unprecedented departure from the principle of open justice.”

On Thursday three appeals judges ruled that the case was “exceptional,” and that the core of the trial should be heard without the public present. They said they were convinced that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

But, in a victory for the media, they said some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in, the reading of the charges, part of the prosecution’s opening statement and the verdicts.

A small number of journalists will be allowed to attend most of the proceedings, but not to report on them as they unfold. They will be subject to strict restrictions, including leaving their notebooks behind at the end of each day, and will not be able to report on the trial until a new court order is given.

The judges expressed “grave concern” about combining closed hearings with anonymous defendants, and ordered that the names of the suspects be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar. Incedal is charged with preparing an act of terrorism and possessing bomb-making instructions and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar with possessing the instructions and false identity documents. Details of their alleged crimes have not been made public.

British judges often impose reporting restrictions while trials are underway, usually to avoid prejudicing future proceedings, and portions of trials have previously been held without press or public present. But lawyers said an entire secret criminal trial was unprecedented.

Lord Justice Peter Gross, one of the appeal judges, said that open justice was “a fundamental principle of the common law,” but restrictions were justified in some circumstances.

“Exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts,” he said.

Other democracies, including the United States, have grappled with balancing security and open trials in cases connected to terrorism or intelligence.

Several suspects in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are being tried before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba after being declared “enemy combatants.”

A special U.S. federal court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, hears applications for surveillance warrants. Its secrecy-shrouded work has been the subject of intense interest since the scale of those requests was disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it accepted the British court’s decision.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for human-rights group Liberty, said she was glad that “faced with a blacked-out trial we now have a few vital chinks of light.”

“But (the judges’) wholesale deference to vague and secret ministerial `national security’ claims is worrying,” she said. “Shutting the door on the core of a criminal trial is a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.”

The trial is due to start next week.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — A British court ruled Thursday that the bulk of a terrorism trial can be held in secret on national security grounds, but rejected prosecutors’ attempt to impose secrecy on the entire case, from the selection of the jury to the identity of the defendants.

Media organizations had argued that would be a first in British legal history, and a dangerous precedent.

The case concerns two men who were arrested last year and charged with terrorism offenses. Prosecutors argued they would have to abandon the case if the trial could not be held in private and without naming the defendants.

Last month a judge agreed to the restrictions, but the ruling was challenged by the BBC and other media organizations. Their lawyer, Anthony Hudson, called the secrecy bid a “totally unprecedented departure from the principle of open justice.”

On Thursday three appeals judges ruled that the case was “exceptional,” and that the core of the trial should be heard without the public present. They said they were convinced that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

But, in a victory for the media, they said some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in, the reading of the charges, part of the prosecution’s opening statement and the verdicts.

A small number of journalists will be allowed to attend most of the proceedings, but not to report on them as they unfold. They will be subject to strict restrictions, including leaving their notebooks behind at the end of each day, and will not be able to report on the trial until a new court order is given.

The judges expressed “grave concern” about combining closed hearings with anonymous defendants, and ordered that the names of the suspects be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar. Incedal is charged with preparing an act of terrorism and possessing bomb-making instructions and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar with possessing the instructions and false identity documents. Details of their alleged crimes have not been made public.

British judges often impose reporting restrictions while trials are underway, usually to avoid prejudicing future proceedings, and portions of trials have previously been held without press or public present. But lawyers said an entire secret criminal trial was unprecedented.

Lord Justice Peter Gross, one of the appeal judges, said that open justice was “a fundamental principle of the common law,” but restrictions were justified in some circumstances.

“Exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts,” he said.

Other democracies, including the United States, have grappled with balancing security and open trials in cases connected to terrorism or intelligence.

Several suspects in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are being tried before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba after being declared “enemy combatants.”

A special U.S. federal court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, hears applications for surveillance warrants. Its secrecy-shrouded work has been the subject of intense interest since the scale of those requests was disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it accepted the British court’s decision.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for human-rights group Liberty, said she was glad that “faced with a blacked-out trial we now have a few vital chinks of light.”

“But (the judges’) wholesale deference to vague and secret ministerial `national security’ claims is worrying,” she said. “Shutting the door on the core of a criminal trial is a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.”

The trial is due to start next week.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — A British court ruled Thursday that the bulk of a terrorism trial can be held in secret on national security grounds, but rejected prosecutors’ attempt to impose secrecy on the entire case, from the selection of the jury to the identity of the defendants.

Media organizations had argued that would be a first in British legal history, and a dangerous precedent.

The case concerns two men who were arrested last year and charged with terrorism offenses. Prosecutors argued they would have to abandon the case if the trial could not be held in private and without naming the defendants.

Last month a judge agreed to the restrictions, but the ruling was challenged by the BBC and other media organizations. Their lawyer, Anthony Hudson, called the secrecy bid a “totally unprecedented departure from the principle of open justice.”

On Thursday three appeals judges ruled that the case was “exceptional,” and that the core of the trial should be heard without the public present. They said they were convinced that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

But, in a victory for the media, they said some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in, the reading of the charges, part of the prosecution’s opening statement and the verdicts.

A small number of journalists will be allowed to attend most of the proceedings, but not to report on them as they unfold. They will be subject to strict restrictions, including leaving their notebooks behind at the end of each day, and will not be able to report on the trial until a new court order is given.

The judges expressed “grave concern” about combining closed hearings with anonymous defendants, and ordered that the names of the suspects be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar. Incedal is charged with preparing an act of terrorism and possessing bomb-making instructions and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar with possessing the instructions and false identity documents. Details of their alleged crimes have not been made public.

British judges often impose reporting restrictions while trials are underway, usually to avoid prejudicing future proceedings, and portions of trials have previously been held without press or public present. But lawyers said an entire secret criminal trial was unprecedented.

Lord Justice Peter Gross, one of the appeal judges, said that open justice was “a fundamental principle of the common law,” but restrictions were justified in some circumstances.

“Exceptions are rare and must be justified on the facts,” he said.

Other democracies, including the United States, have grappled with balancing security and open trials in cases connected to terrorism or intelligence.

Several suspects in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are being tried before a military commission at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba after being declared “enemy combatants.”

A special U.S. federal court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, hears applications for surveillance warrants. Its secrecy-shrouded work has been the subject of intense interest since the scale of those requests was disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The Crown Prosecution Service said it accepted the British court’s decision.

Isabella Sankey, director of policy for human-rights group Liberty, said she was glad that “faced with a blacked-out trial we now have a few vital chinks of light.”

“But (the judges’) wholesale deference to vague and secret ministerial `national security’ claims is worrying,” she said. “Shutting the door on the core of a criminal trial is a dangerous departure from our democratic tradition.”

The trial is due to start next week.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s appeals court ruled Thursday that a criminal trial of two terrorism suspects can be held largely in secret on national security grounds – a decision some say sets a dangerous precedent.

Three judges said that the case was “exceptional,” and that the core of the trial should be heard without the public present in court. Under the ruling, a small number of journalists will be allowed to attend most of the proceedings, but not to report it as it unfolds.

Prosecutors sought the secret trial on security grounds, saying they would have to abandon the case if it could not be held in private and without publicly naming the defendants. The judges expressed “grave concern” about doing both at the same time, and ordered that the names of the suspects be released.

While portions of trials have previously been held without press or public present, lawyers said the bid for entire secret criminal trial was unprecedented in an English court.

That move was challenged by media organizations, who claimed a partial victory in the case Thursday. The decision is final, and the trial is due to start Monday.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar. Incedal is charged with preparing an act of terrorism, and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar with other terrorist offenses. Details of their alleged crimes have not been made public.

The judges agreed about the risk that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

Lord Justice Peter Gross, one of the judges, said that open justice was “a fundamental principle of our common law,” but that a departure from open justice was justified in some circumstances.

He said exceptions to open justice must be “necessary and proportionate.”

The judges said the “core” of part of the trial should be private but some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in, the reading of the charges and the verdicts.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s appeals court ruled Thursday that a criminal trial can be held largely in secret on national security grounds – a decision some say sets a dangerous precedent.

Three judges said that the case of two terrorism suspects was “exceptional,” and that the core of the trial should be heard without the public present in court. Under the ruling, a small number of journalists will be allowed to attend most of the proceedings, but cannot report on the trial as it unfolds.

Prosecutors sought the secret trial on security grounds, saying they would have to abandon the case if it could not be held in private and with the defendants anonymized.

While portions of trials have previously been held without press or public present, lawyers said the bid for an entire secret criminal trial was unprecedented in an English court.

That move was challenged by media organizations, who claimed a partial victory in the case Thursday. The decision is final, and the trial is due to start Monday.

Lord Justice Peter Gross, one of the judges, said that open justice was “a fundamental principle of our common law,” but that a departure from open justice was justified in some circumstances.

He said exceptions to open justice must be “necessary and proportionate.”

The judges expressed “grave concern as to the cumulative effects” of both a secret trial and anonymous defendants, and ordered that the names of the suspects be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar. Incedal is charged with preparing an act of terrorism, and Rarmoul-Bouhadjar with other terrorism offenses. Details of their alleged crimes have not been made public.

The judges agreed that there was a risk that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

The judges said the “core” of part of the trial should be private but some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in, the reading of the charges and the verdicts.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s appeals court has ruled that a criminal trial can be held largely in secret – a decision some say sets a dangerous precedent.

Three judges said Thursday that the case of two terrorism suspects was “exceptional,” and that the core of the case should be heard without the public present in court. Under the ruling, some journalists will be allowed to attend the proceedings, but not to report it as it unfolds.

The judges expressed “grave concern as to the cumulative effects” of both a secret trial and anonymous defendants. They ordered that the names of the defendants be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar.

Prosecutors sought the secret trial on national security grounds. That move was challenged by media organizations, who later claimed a partial victory in the case.

Prosecutors warned they might have to abandon the trial if it was not held behind closed doors, and the judges agreed that there was a risk that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

The judges said the “core” of part of the trial should be private but some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in and the reading of the charges.

The trial is due to begin Monday.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s appeals court has ruled that a criminal trial can be held largely in secret – a decision some say sets a dangerous precedent.

Three judges said Thursday that the case of two terrorism suspects was “exceptional,” and that the core of the case should be heard without the public present in court. Under the ruling, some journalists will be allowed to attend the proceedings, but not to report it as it unfolds.

The judges expressed “grave concern as to the cumulative effects” of both a secret trial and anonymous defendants. They ordered that the names of the defendants be released.

The defendants, previously named as AB and CD, were then identified as Erol Incedal and Mounir Rarmoul-Bouhadjar.

Prosecutors sought the secret trial on national security grounds. That move was challenged by media organizations, who later claimed a partial victory in the case.

Prosecutors warned they might have to abandon the trial if it was not held behind closed doors, and the judges agreed that there was a risk that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

The judges said the “core” of part of the trial should be private but some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in and the reading of the charges.

The trial is due to begin Monday.

UK court says terror trial can be partly secret

KDWN

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s appeals court has ruled that a criminal trial could be held largely in secret – a decision some say sets a dangerous precedent.

Three judges said Thursday that the case of two terrorism suspects was “exceptional,” and that the core of the case should be heard without the public or press present in court.

The judges expressed “grave concern as to the cumulative effects” of both a secret trial and anonymous defendants. They ordered that the names of the defendants be released.

Prosecutors sought the secret trial on national security grounds, but that move was challenged by media organizations.

Prosecutors said they might have to abandon the trial if it was not held behind closed doors, and the judges agreed that there was a risk that “the administration of justice would be frustrated if the trial were to be held in open court.”

The judges said the “core” of part of the trial should be private but some sections would be held in public, including the jury swearing-in and the reading of the charges.